CASE NO 48/2014 DATED 10 NOVEMBER 2015 (ECG)
The plaintiff (Afrikaans: “eiser”), Mr Mabhuti Madze, was arrested without a warrant on Thursday 20 June 2013 by Sgt Phakamile Matomela. Madze was taken to court on Monday 24 June 2013 (the first court day in terms of section 50(2) of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 [the CPA]). Sgt Matomela completed a “Bail Information Form” in which he recommended that Madze be released on bail. Madze however, was not released because there was no prosecutor available in court. As a result, Madze was remanded in custody until Wednesday 26 June 2013, when he was released.
Subsequent to this, Madze alleged that his arrest and detention were unlawful, whereupon he instituted civil action before the High Court in Grahamstown for damages against the Minister of Police.
The material facts were largely common cause or not in dispute. In early May 2013, Sgt Matomela was appointed to investigate a case of stock theft involving three cows belonging to Mr Dumezweni Bhemi of Lower Blinkwater in the Fort Beaufort district in the Eastern Cape Province. On either 1 or 2 May 2013, the cows were slaughtered and their meat was stolen. The heads of the cows were found near the spot where they had been slaughtered.
Sgt Matomela was told by an informer that Madze and another man had sold meat to a person by the name of Nomhle Hiti. He interviewed her and she confirmed that she had bought meat from Madze and a second man whom she did not know. She showed him leftover uncooked meat in a fridge. A cow’s head was also in the fridge with the meat. Sgt Matomela seized the entire fridge and took it to his offices. His plan was to have this meat and the three carcasses sent for DNA analysis. This did not happen because, as a result of load-shedding, the meat in the fridge became rotten and had to be thrown away.
On 20 June 2013, Sgt Matomela went to Madze’s home. He asked him to accompany him to Fort Beaufort Police Station where he wished to interview him. Madze confirmed having sold meat to Hiti. He said that he had acquired the meat when he and one Ngothe from the Sheshego area in Alice were travelling in a car between the towns of Alice and Fort Beaufort and collided with a cow, presumably killing it.